ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –The Washington Redskins come to Denver this Sunday coming off one of their best performances of 2013.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III posted his best quarterback rating of the season as the Redskins beat the Bears 45-41 last week.
"Their last couple of weeks – well over 400 yards of total offense, over 200 yards rushing, 45 points last week in the win," Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio said. "Yeah, they're obviously – it looks like 'RGIII' is getting healthier as the year goes on. It's a good football team."
Griffin found a new favorite target in the win as well. Tight end Jordan Reed lead the team in catches for the first time this season as he pulled in nine passes for 134 yards and a touchdown.
That performance nearly doubled his 2013 totals as he now has 298 yards and a pair of touchdowns this year.
"(Reed) got open and caught the ball, he's a good-looking player," Del Rio said. "He's done a good job in their system. They're clearly looking to get him the ball. I think he's got 26 catches and many over the last couple of weeks. He's definitely a guy that we're aware of."
Derek Wolfe's Presence
Defensive end Derek Wolfe had a scary moment this preseason in Seattle when he had to be taken off the field in an ambulance. Though it turned out to "looked a lot worse than it was," the injury kept him off the field for the rest of the preseason.
He returned for the season opener against the Ravens and has started every game so far this season.
"He's done a great job," Del Rio said. "That was a scary moment. It takes a little time to come back from that. I think he came back probably quicker than most would be able to. I mean, he's a tough kid. It doesn't surprise me at all. I do feel like he's all the way back from that and playing the way he can."
Wolfe hasn't necessarily made the flashy plays on defense and isn't on pace to have the same kind of numbers he had a year ago but he has provided a steady presence on the defensive line.
So far this season he's had 11 total tackles, four tackles for loss, three hits on the quarterback and sack. Del Rio isn't concerned about the numbers, he's concerned about the approach – and Wolfe is approaching things the right way.
"It's not always about one guy getting the numbers," Del Rio said. "But Derek works hard, very conscientious – one of the guys that we count on to play a big role for us each and every Sunday. Just keep grinding, the numbers will come. I think he's approaching it the right way. Stay strong throughout the season and the numbers tend to come your way."
Putting the Pieces Together
Like any team, the Broncos have had to fight through the injury bug this season but the defense has been hit especially hard.
Defensive captain and linebacker Wesley Woodyard has been out for two weeks with a neck injury but returned to full participation in practice Thursday.
"What Wesley does a great job of is the leadership and the communication are strengths of his. We work hard to be as good with the next guy. Coach Fox has a big 'next man up' philosophy and we try and embrace that, so that's what we do with the next guy. I think Danny (Trevathan) did a pretty solid job for us in that role."
The linebacker corps also had the added benefit of Von Miller's return last week in Indianapolis. He had to "knock a little bit of the rust off from not having played" but still made an impact as he picked up a tackle for loss. He also put two hits on the quarterback.
Del Rio said that he expects Miller to be one week better this week against the Redskins.
But for Del Rio, it's not so much about who's out there and who's not as much as it's about those 11 guys working together.
"I'm still looking for the 11 players in the same picture-moment on defense, when we're swarming the ball like that. No – I mean, I love coaching. I love coming out here and working with the guys, teaching the guys and motivating the guys. And then we go out and let it rip on Sundays. We're excited about this opportunity Sunday against a very good team.
"I know they'll present us some problems with things they do and we've got to be ready to handle it and help our football team."